The White House's approval Thursday of the Naval Vessel Transfer Act, authorizing sales of the excess ships, gives Taiwan a shot at arranging its first purchase of American-made military equipment in three years. The Perry-class guided missile frigates would replace vessels that have been used for 20 years, analysts said.
"We urge the American side to ... stop U.S.-Taiwan official contact and military exchanges, to stop arms sales to Taiwan and do more things that help overall Sino-U.S. relations and peaceful development of cross-Strait relations," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a news conference in Beijing, referring to ties between mainland China and Taiwan.
Washington cut formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan when it reestablished such ties with Beijing in 1979. But the U.S. and Taiwan have maintained a strong "unofficial" relationship, including arms sales, for decades, which has irked China.
A frigate sale is still uncertain. Washington and Taipei would need to set a price, possibly subject to legislative review in Taipei. The bill would probably top $50 million.
A 1979 act of
Washington last agreed to a military sale in 2011 with an upgrade to 146 U.S.-made F-16s, which Taiwan bought in the 1990s.
Chinese officials are expected to cool down faster this time.